The founder of Insys Therapeutics Inc., John N. Kapoor, 74, was charged with “leading a nationwide conspiracy to profit by using bribes and fraud to cause the illegal distribution of a Fentanyl spray intended for cancer patients experiencing breakthrough pain,” according to a press release from the United States Department of Justice.
“These Insys executives allegedly fueled the opioid epidemic by paying doctors to needlessly prescribe an extremely dangerous and addictive form of fentanyl,” said Special Agent in Charge for the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Phillip Coyne. “Corporate executives intent on illegally driving up profits need to be aware they are now squarely in the sights of law enforcement.”
Last year, two Insys officials were arrested for paying physicians to push Fentanyl on patients who didn’t need it. Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The serious charges of racketeering, bribery and conspiracy violate the federal Anti-Kickback Statute. Six more former Insys officials were also indicted. In another incident, a former sales manager for Insys Pharmaceuticals pled guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud in other kickback scheme, in which doctors were paid to do favors. The two doctors involved were also arrested.
This is the same corporation that donated half a million dollars on August 31, 2016 to the campaign to defeat cannabis legalization in Arizona. But there’s one way to fight back against pharmaceutical executives profiting at the expense of human lives—and that’s with medical cannabis. States with medical cannabis laws have lower opioid abuse rates than those without medical cannabis laws, according to research.
It’s a criminal situation when doctors and pharmaceutical executives value money more than human life. Kapoor was arrested on October 26. He will appear in U.S. District Court in Boston at a later date.